Celebrating East African Writing!

The Flags are Tattered

The flags are tattered and stained, brethren

From Cairo to Jo’burg, Tunis to Addis.

Should we take a break from the tweeted riots

To revisit the blurred transition from OAU to AU…

From Gaddafi to the rebels……or is it NATO?


The flags are in tatters, mother

For in SA, they openly discuss the price

of old Madiba’s casket

While the old icon sadly smiles

Weighed down by the impossible food and fuel prices.


And the wind…O what happened to the wind?

The powerful, revolutionary wind of change

That blew across the then green continent

in the rolling 60’s and coup-infested 70s and 80s?

Have we finally replaced the Kalashnikov

with facebook?

The AK 47 with twitter?


The flags are tattered, elders

For today’s youth swim in alien terminologies

coated with violence – pre and post election

tribal and clan-based

Sometimes hanging out or in

Eternally glued to giant screens,

Dying of state-induced idleness and self pity…..


The flags are tattered, children

for anxiously I await my exit – surrounded by sinking nations

Torn apart by negative ethnicity, oil-coated imperialism,

hollow political pledges and dusty manifestos

While slums mushroom in every open space….

Brother – what happened to the land we fought for?

Who stole our land and future

Leaving us cramped Kibera, Soweto, Kawempe and Kechene?


Let’s take time brethren

To slowly mend the flags in between disputed elections

And re-inject authenticity to the national anthems

Lest the continent implodes from internal bleeding

In her mid fifties 

© Pascal Masila Mailu 2011


3 comments on “The Flags are Tattered

  1. mesopirr
    September 12, 2011

    the poet brings his ideas so candidly and explicitly, with a flowing rhythm.but i have reservations on the last stanza- he gives advice and dulls the poems emotive timber. poetry does not advice but rather reflects and describes events or things or attempt to penetrate society’s membrane in such a way that we can feel, see things in our minds and reflect…however there’s a palpable poetic potential in masila.


  2. Maria
    September 14, 2011

    Nice piece of poetry…it touches on every aspect of life now and the times to come. Bravo Masila and keep up with the good work


  3. Ayoub Mzee
    March 16, 2012

    One word. Emotive. Two words. Thought provoking.


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